1761 in science
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- June 6 – The first transit of Venus since Edmond Halley suggested that its observation could determine the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Joseph-Nicolas Delisle set up a 62-station network for observing the transit. Those taking part included:
- Nathaniel Bliss at the Royal Greenwich Observatory
- César Cassini de Thury in Vienna
- Jean-Baptiste Chappe d'Auteroche in Tobolsk, Siberia
- Jeremiah Dixon and Charles Mason in Cape Town, South Africa (they had originally planned to go to Bengcoolen, Sumatra)
- Maximilian Hell in Vardø, Norway
- Joseph de Lalande in Paris
- Tobias Mayer in Göttingen
- Nevil Maskelyne in St Helena
- Alexandre Pingré on Rodrigues Island
- John Winthrop in St. John's, Newfoundland
- Mikhail Lomonosov, who finds the first evidence that the planet has an atmosphere
- Louis Gérard publishes Flora Gallo-Provincialis, the first flora arranged according to natural classification.
- Johan Gottschalk Wallerius publishes his pioneering work in agricultural chemistry, Agriculturae fundamenta chemica (Åkerbrukets chemiska grunder).
- Leopold Auenbrugger publishes Novum ex Percussione Thoracis Humani Interni Pectoris Morbos Detegendi in Vienna, for the first time advocating percussion of the chest as a diagnostic measure.
- Samuel-Auguste Tissot publishes Avis au peuple sur sa santé, a popular text of the century.
- Copley Medal: not awarded
- January 17 – James Hall (died 1832), Scottish geologist and physicist.
- January 19 – Pierre Marie Auguste Broussonet (died 1807), French naturalist et physician.
- February 1 – Christiaan Hendrik Persoon (died 1836), South African-born Pomeranian/Dutch mycologist.
- February 4 – Blasius Merrem (died 1824), German zoologist.
- June 7 – John Rennie (died 1821), Scottish-born civil engineer.
- October 27 – Matthew Baillie (died 1823), Scottish-born pathologist
- November 30 – Smithson Tennant (died 1815), English chemist.
- December 21 – Jean-Louis Pons (died 1831), French astronomer.
- December 25 – William Gregor (died 1817), Cornish mineralogist.
- March 22 – Pierre Fauchard, French physician and "father of modern dentistry" (born 1678)
- April 7 – Thomas Bayes, English mathematician (born c. 1702)
- May 14 – Thomas Simpson, British mathematician (born 1710)
- November 30 – John Dollond, English optician (born 1706)
- Williams, Roger L. (1988). "Gerard and Jaume: Two Neglected Figures in the History of Jussiaean Classification". Taxon. 37: 2–34. JSTOR 1220932.
- Lambert, Johann Heinrich (1762). "Mémoire sur quelques propriétés remarquables des quantités transcendentes circulaires et logarithmiques". Histoire de l'Académie. Berlin (published 1768). XVII: 265–322.
- Singy, Patrick (2010). "The popularization of medicine in the eighteenth century: writing, reading, and rewriting Samuel Auguste Tissot's Avis au peuple sur sa santé". The Journal of Modern History. 82: 769–800. doi:10.1086/656073. JSTOR 656073.